March 11, 2016
In the 1980s show The A-Team, Hannibal, played by George Peppard, is fond of saying, “I love it when a plan comes together.” In my career as an elementary school educator, I do an enormous amount of planning; lesson planning, assessment planning, behavior management planning, cooperative group seating arrangements, time management, etc. I, like Hannibal, love it when my plans work out beautifully and my students receive a perfect lesson. However, reality sometimes gets in the way. I’ve learned to expect the unexpected in my career. A student might throw up in the classroom, a fire drill might interrupt my minute-managed lesson right at that A-HA moment that teachers hold so dear, a piece of technology might not work the way it is supposed to, a student might not be able to find an important paper or resource, or a thousand other things might happen. In situations where the flow of the class has been disturbed, it may be best to accept that you have lost the children’s attention and just go with the trusty kids learning videos to get back on track.
I’ve been studying acting and improv for three years and teaching it for nearly two at LCA in the Doylestown area. I truly believe that improv is a metaphor for life. In improv, we learn to think on our feet, be present in each moment, support the team, imperfection is perfect, and most importantly, we learn to ALWAYS SAY YES! When you step on that stage, you have no idea what the audience will suggest, you have no idea what your fellow actors will say, and you have no idea how the scene will turn out. It can be stressful at first, but you quickly realize that while the scene wasn’t perfect, it was still successful. Improv is a metaphor for life, and it has made me a better teacher, a better husband, a better parent, a better friend, and a better person!
In short, Hannibal was right: the plan may not work out the way you wanted, but the plan always comes together one way or another.